I was ashamed that I was unable to control my drinking when everyone else around me seemed to manage fine. I was scared of being labelled an 'alcoholic'.
I was worried that everyone would assume that I'd been pouring vodka on my cornflakes at breakfast time and would label me an unfit mother.
So I didn't tell anyone. I said I was 'on antibiotics,' or 'doing a detox.' I said I'd 'given up for Lent.' Anything, rather than admit the truth.
The only place I told the truth was here, on this blog. But not under my real name, obviously. I created a pseudonym - SoberMummy. I figured that every time I wrote those words it would help to reinforce the fact that Mummy was Sober.
And through this blog I found an incredible thing: I was not alone. Not alone in being unable to control the booze, and not alone in feeling ashamed.
Isn't it ridiculous that when we quit smoking we can tell everyone and they treat us like a hero, yet you stop drinking and get treated like a leper?
Giving up gluten is trendy, yet ditching a toxic, addictive drug is considered weird.
I started this blog to help myself - as a form of therapy, then I discovered that it was helping other people - all around the world. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, all of you helped me back. It was like a giant, interwebby karmic circle.
More and more of you started writing to me to suggest I turn my story into a book.
The idea terrified me, but I figured that if we don't face our shame and shout out loud and proud then nothing is going to change.
So I did it. I found a fabulous agent - Annette Green, and she sent my proposal out to some publishers. Amazingly, not just one, but several of them were interested.
My favourite team were from Hodder and Stoughton. They understood me and what I wanted to do, that I wanted to tell one small story and to change the world.
I wanted to let other women know like me know that they are not alone and to banish the culture of shame that surrounds going sober. I want to make clean drinking as fashionable as clean eating.
And now, after months of writing and editing and proof reading and legal checking, it's all done. And today the press release is going out.
Those of you who've read this blog from beginning to end will know my story, but the book talks a lot more about the day to day trials and tribulations of trying to become a sober mum in a world where everyone drinks. There's also lots of help and advice woven into the story and, I hope, a few good laughs.
Having spent years hiding behind a made-up name, I'm coming out good and proper. With a bang.
My real name is CLARE POOLEY. That's me at the top of the page. And this is the cover of my book, which is coming out on January 11th.
You can pre-order a copy (please do!) by clicking here.
(Also available on amazon.com for those of you in the USA).
Please help me to spread the word and change the world.
Love to you all. And thank you. For everything. Clare Pooley (SoberMummy)